How to Get a Job in Legal Studies

Written by James Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

Legal studies cover a broad range of career opportunities. Possibilities include paralegal, legal assistant, legal secretary, probation officer, or law office manager.

A paralegal is responsible for investigating information for a case, researching applicable laws, organizing the information, maintaining computer databases, writing reports for trial, drafting legal documents, and assisting lawyers in court. Sometimes the term legal assistant is substituted for paralegal.

Legal secretaries manage all of the day to day functions of the law office. Legal secretaries may be trusted with researching case law, gathering and organizing documents for trial, and filing paperwork with the courts. Other functions may include scheduling appointments, answering the telephone, and taking notes during meetings.

Probation officers monitor their clients to make sure they are following the terms of probation. Responsibilities include evaluating clients for treatment, arranging treatment, meeting with the offender and his or her family for progress updates, and preparing reports on the findings.

Law Office Managers supervise other support personnel, prepare budgets, maintain legal reference sources, and ensures that the law office is in compliance with applicable laws.

Salary

Paralegals and legal assistants can expect to earn a median wage of $46,000. Those employed in larger firms or larger cities can expect to earn a higher salary.

Legal secretaries can expect to earn an average of $48,000.

Probation officers have a median pay of $27,000.

Median salary for law office managers is $47,000.

Education and Qualifications

Paralegals and legal assistants should have at least an associate's degree in paralegal studies. It is advisable to seek certification from one of the paralegal associations such as the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). To earn a higher salary and learn more about the law, consider earning a bachelor's degree in paralegal studies. Length of service and high performance will lead to more responsibility.

Legal secretaries may earn a certificate or associate's degree at a community college to become eligible for a position. Legal secretaries must be well organized, be able to multi-task, have attention to detail, and be familiar with legal research software.

Probation officers need a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, psychology, or social work. Some states have a certification program that must be completed.

It is best for law office manager candidates to have a bachelor's degree in office management along with knowledge of the law and legal procedures.

Schools For Legal Studies

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